8 Questions to Ask Before You Push POST

Rules to follow when using social media

Social Media.  It’s kind of a thing nowadays.  As far as what kind of thing it is… well, that all depends upon how we choose to use it and consume it.

In striving to use social media in a way that honors the Lord, here are some questions/guidelines I follow to filter my posts through, prior to hitting the ‘POST’ button.  You might consider using these social media rules yourself:

  1. Is it Positive?  You’ve probably noticed that there’s plenty of negativity floating around social media, to the point that sometimes it feels like your swimming in the lake next to a landfill.  A Christian doesn’t need to add to such negativity.  If I’m going to put something out there for the world to see, is there something of positive value in it for those who see it?
  2. Is it Factual?  Social media is no place for spreading rumors, speculation, or gossip.  Does everything I read that ruffles my feathers mean it’s true or worthy of putting my name above it?  Do I want to be that person with egg on their face because of an emotional trigger response to post something questionable without knowing the facts?
  3. Is it Helpful?  Just because something is positive, and even true, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s helpful.  Can what I post simply put a smile on someone’s face, or just help point them in the right direction?  Is it helpful?  If so, it’s probably worth posting.  (Phil. 4:8)
  4. Is it Fun or Entertaining There’s great value in knowing and following people on social media who know how to have good, clean fun.  Do I know how to laugh at myself and enjoy life, and as a result, help others enjoy it with me?
  5. Is it Overly Political?  Probably the last thing we need more of on social media is politics. While it’s not necessarily wrong to post something political, and sometimes it’s inescapable for Biblical truth not to collide with political opinion, as a general rule, I try to abstain from political posts as much as possible. Has anyone ever changed another’s mind by using social media as a megaphone for their political views?
  6. Is it Drama Free?  If for some reason I want to air out my dirty laundry, social media is not the place to do it. What is the motivation behind what I’m posting?  Am I looking for pity, or just to generate an emotional response from others? Am I using social media to vent my frustrations or satisfy my flesh? Save the drama for your mama.
  7. Is it Regret Free?  While I can always delete that post tomorrow, why post it today?  Is what I post going to be something I’ll be proud of tomorrow, next year, or 10 years from now?  Good thing when you delete something from the Internet, it can never be found again. 😃  Better yet, what if I just bit my lip… (or, my thumb) a little more often?
  8. Is it Christ-honoring If none of the above questions answer whether or not I should post something, this should be my ultimate filter – is what I’m about to post going to honor the Lord and strengthen my testimony? (I Cor. 10:31)

I personally enjoy using social media, but it’s not just what I post that I have to be careful of, it’s also what I consume.  So here’s a bonus :).  In addition to filtering posts with the above questions, I filter time spent on social media by asking these 2 questions:

  1. Am I Wasting My Time?  Certainly there’s plenty of time that can be wasted on social media.  Sometimes 30 minutes can feel like 5.  Am I using social media wisely, and redeeming the time, or am I allowing it to become a god of idle hands that puts me in the devil’s workshop?
  2. Am I Stealing Someone Else’s Time?  Am I taking time away from things that really do matter like my family, my job, or my responsibilities?  Am I forfeiting valuable pieces of my kids’ childhood for a device addiction?  Am I acting married to social media instead of married to my spouse?  Am I stealing time and attention away from those who need and deserve it most by throwing it to the wind with nothing to show for it?  Am I setting a right or wrong example of social media use for my children?

Social media isn’t going anywhere. So if we don’t have some boundaries, we’ll certainly have some regrets.  And if we don’t exemplify and teach our children proper boundaries, so will they.

What are some of the social media rules you follow? And what would you add to this list of guidelines?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Benjamin Watt

    Another great post, my friend!

    I have comments on a couple of these points:

    1 – I agree, and I understand your point. I would also add that sometimes, a negative post can be positive. For example, a college friend of mine recently lost his 18 month old daughter to croup. While his post about his family’s loss wasn’t “positive,” I am grateful that he posted. I may have never known otherwise, and I felt like I could grieve with him and pray for him as a result of this “not positive” post.

    5 – Politics on social media is an interesting one. I don’t have a venue outside of social media where I can discuss politics as freely as I can on Facebook…so I do post about politics. If I was a pastor, I would post differently. If I was a politician, I would post differently. But I’m just a regular, Christian guy who views Facebook as a means of communication. Anyone is free to participate or ignore my conversations related to politics. If I were to die today and people viewed my Facebook page as an autobiography of my life, I’m ok with them seeing I was passionate about politics. But I have to be very careful not to post falsehoods. In person, it is difficult to politely ignore a person spewing political hogwash. On Facebook, I have that control. I am rarely trying to convince anyone with my political posts (unless it’s related to abortion or religious liberty) – rather I am taking advantage of an outlet to post my thoughts on a subject.

    • Thanks, Ben. Appreciate the feedback! That’s a great clarification on #1. I completely agree that in the context you mentioned, even a “negative” post can certainly be a positive thing. 🙂 As far as #5, I’m of a very similar opinion. I think that who you are does influence how much you may post politically. Because of being a pastor, I think that does cause me to filter out even more political posts that I’d otherwise lean towards posting, because I really enjoy keeping up on politics. I also agree that social media can still be a tool for political discussion, however, I think the danger is found when crossing the line of becoming “overly political” with our posts for the purpose of bashing others who believe differently, or trying to always feel like we have to prove a point politically. Sadly, many Christians take this to an extreme, and it often reflects poorly upon Christ. Just for the record, I’ve never sensed that was the case with your political posts. 🙂 Thanks again for your thoughts. Good stuff!

  • Great points! Social media would be a lot friendlier.